U.S. Men Hope to Keep Improving in Final Round

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | July 03, 2017, 8:30 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 3, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team started from the bottom, now they’re here.

“Here” is Curitiba, Brazil for the Final Round of the FIVB World League.

“Here” is where few thought the U.S. Men would end up after they lost the first three matches of World League pool play.

“Here” is the Arena da Baixada, a soccer stadium with a retractable roof that holds more than 42,000.

Final Round pool play will begin for the U.S. Men on Tuesday, July 4, when the United States (4-5) will take on France (8-1) at 2 p.m. ET (live on Universal HD). They will play Serbia (6-3) on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET (live on Universal HD).

Despite his team’s slow start, U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw does not think it should be counted out of the competition.

“I think for us to have gotten this far, especially starting off World League 0-3. I wouldn’t discount this team,” he said. “We are certainly underdogs going in. We’re playing two teams that beat us pretty easily during pool play. I think it’s a great challenge for us to reach semifinals.”

One thing that could work in the U.S. Men’s favor is the return of outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke to the roster. Jaeschke, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, didn’t play at all in pool play due to an injury. But Speraw said he is doing well now.

The first match against France is a matchup of two of the top scorers of pool play. French opposite Stephen Boyer led all scorers with 165 points (135 kills, 13 stuffs and 17 aces). U.S. outside hitter was third with 146 points (118 kills, 15 stuffs, 13 aces).

Other standouts for the U.S. during pool play were opposite Ben Patch, middle blocker David Smith, setter Micah Christenson and libero Erik Shoji.

“To be able to play in this stadium is an incredible experience,” Shoji said. “It’s a different environment with the size, but our team is embracing the challenges that come with that.”

USAV Cup on August 18 and 19 in Hoffman Estates

2017 FIVB World League Final Round
July 4-8 in Curitiba, Brazil
U.S. Men’s Roster

3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
7C. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
14. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. TJ DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
19. Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Leader: Mike Wall
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer and Robert Neilson
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

TV Schedule and Results

Date and Opponent     Result   Location   TV (all times EDT)    
June 2     Serbia     L (25-18, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21)   Novi Sad, Serbia   June 2: 9:30-11:30 p.m. NBCSN    
           
           
June 3     Canada     L (23-25, 25-19,18-25, 25-23, 15-11)   Novi Sad, Serbia   June 3: 3-5 p.m. NBCSN    
                         
June 4     Belgium     L (25-23, 25-16, 22-25, 28-26)   Novi Sad, Serbia   June 4: 6-8 p.m. UniHD    
                         
June 9     Italy     W (25-22, 25-23, 25-23)   Pau, France   June 9: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN    
                         
June 10     Russia     W (25-20, 25-22, 25-22)   Pau, France   June 10: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. UniHD
   
                         
June 11     France     L (25-20, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21)   Pau, France   June 11: 3-4:30 p.m. NBCSN    
                         
June 15     Iran  
W (25-17, 25-22, 30-28)   Katowice, Poland   June 15: 12-2 p.m.. NBCSN  
                         
June 17     Russia     L (31-29, 17-25, 25-19, 27-29, 15-13)   Lodz, Poland   June 17: 6:30-8:30 p.m. NBCSN
 
                         
June 18     Poland     W (26-31, 25-17, 27-25, 25-20)   Lodz, Poland   June 18: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN  
                         
July 4     Final Round pool play     Brazil vs Canada   Curitiba, Brazil   July 4, 2 p.m. on Universal HD    
July 4     Final Round pool play     France vs USA   Curitiba, Brazil   July 4, 4:40 p.m. on UniHD    
                         
July 5     Final Round pool play     Russia vs Canada   Curitiba, Brazil   July 5, 2 p.m. on UniHD    
July 5     Final Round pool play     Serbia vs USA    Curitiba, Brazil   July 5, 4:30 p.m. on UniHD    
                         
July 6     Final Round pool play     Brazil vs Russia   Curitiba, Brazil   July 6, 2 p.m. on UniHD    
July 6     Final Round pool play     France vs Serbia   Curitiba, Brazil   July 6, 4;30 on UniHD    
                         
July 7     Final Round semifinals         Curitiba, Brazil   TBD: UniHD    
July 8     Final Round finals